Aeron Headrest Comparison – Engineered Now versus Atlas
Here’s a short evaluation with some photos to illustrate the difference between the two popular brands of headrests. They are the Atlas Aeron Headrest and the Original Engineered Now Headrests.
We also added a short review of the new Ergonomic Aeron Headrest H3 (OEM), which many users were excited about and asked about. We do ship most of our accessories globally for FREE.
This review should provide more insight to buyers to understand some of the critical differences and know what to look out for.
There are two versions of the Engineered Now headrests, the HR03 and HR04. The HR03 is recommended for people below 180cm, and the HR04 cushion is 20% bigger and taller.
The following comparison is for the graphite version of the Remastered Aeron Chair. Note that this slightly differs from the Classic Aeron version, which was discontinued for several years.
Classic and remastered difference
Who are they?
Engineered Now had been around for almost a decade and was the first to release a fully adjustable mesh headrest for the Classic Aeron chairs. You can tell that the inventor is very concerned about the headrest’s durability, function and adjustability aspect. This matches the direction of how Aerons were designed, adaptable to fit most people.
Atlas was released later by a couple of years, but one of its founders was known to work for Herman Miller’s design. Recently, they released a version with “suspension mesh” which now makes them a worthy competitor for Engineered Now. The mesh used on their headrest is from the same supplier that supplies for the production of Aeron Chairs. Aesthetically, they should match very well since the material is the same.
Engineered Now has two sizes. The HR03 and HR04, which is taller and bigger by about 20%. Again, though we are using the remastered Aerons for comparison in this review. The dimension and features are the same for the variation for the Herman Miller Classic Aerons.
Atlas only has one size. The headrest is huge, even larger than the HR04.
Here are some comparison photos
Atlas compare HR03
Atlas compare HR04
HR04 compare HR03
Some users have pointed out that the rear of the Atlas headrest is likely to protrude out. This protrusion can be a concern for tight spaces as it increases the size of the chair.
Ergonomic Head Support
The neck carries the head, and the muscles that support your head are from the neck and shoulders. Although it’s known as a headrest, the fundamental support should be on your neck. So your neck and shoulder muscles can be appropriately relaxed while your head gets supported.
Some users position their headrest support on the back of their heads, which may cause a strain on the neck.
The material must be fully breathable and not too stiff to eliminate the chance of trapped heat or pressure points which can cause discomfort. As such, using mesh is the most appropriate material.
There’s something unique here with Engineered Now’s design. It is fully adjustable, so you can find a spot that supports your head well.
The mesh can be slightly loose, but this is probably intentional to allow the mesh to wrap around your neck instead of being too firm and creating pressure points causing discomfort. This curve-in design locks your neck in position and reduces the chance of your head slipping off while taking a nap. The mesh is a little springy similar to the Atlas’s suspension mesh.
Some headphones users remark that the curve design may hinder them from wearing the earpiece. If you use In-Ear Monitors(IEM) or smaller headphones, there shouldn’t be any problem.
For the HR04, the curve is more subtle.
The cushion is huge and wide for Atlas, but the surface is flatter. They call it the suspension mesh, and it is a little springy, which is quite similar to the HR03/HR04.
At first look, there was some concern that the cushion on the Atlas is too large and may not fit well with people having a more petite frame, as you must remember that the curve should fit behind the neck, not the head. In this aspect, the Engineered Now HR03 design seems better as the smaller cushion design will likely fit and provide better cranium support.
However, we haven’t heard much of such complaints, probably because the suspension mesh from Atlas conforms to the head’s shape and sinks well into the correct depth, resting like a firm pillow.
The HR04’s size is somewhere between Atlas and HR03. It is highly adjustable, but it rests at a taller height. We recommend the HR04 option be considered only for people with 180cm / 5 feet 11 and above.
Overall, both the Engineered Now and Atlas headrests are both excellent products. Still, given that the Engineered Now headrest has better adjustability and fits better behind the neck, they score slightly better on ergonomics.
The Engineered Now headrest adjusts its depth by rotating and swinging the headrest forward or backward and locked into position with a lever.
The height is adjusted by sliding the headrest along the bar, and the cushion’s angle can be adjusted. You can adjust the tension by tightening the screws inside the cap.
As for the Atlas headrest, depth can be adjusted by simply pushing or pulling the headrest’s position. There’s a locking knob to tighten the position. Since the Atlas is already much bigger and protrudes a lot, most people prefer the headrest all the way to the back. So in a way, there’s less flexibility in the depth.
Height can be adjusted by sliding along the bar and using the locking knob to tighten into position.
The angle of the cushion can be rotated and adjusted.
Which has better adjustability?
Both can adjust the depth, height and angle. We will say that the Engineered Now headrest should be more adjustable as it has more room to adjust for depth. The Engineered Now headrest also has an active free-flowing design that adjusts while the user tilts the chair.
Another big advantage of the Engineered Now headrest is it can be easier adjusted while the user remains seated. For the Atlas headrest, some adjustments may require the user to stand up and adjust first before sitting or get someone to help to adjust.
Also, note that the Atlas’s depth comes out a little more, so some users were concerned that it might push the head too forward. It should not be a big issue as the Atlas mesh is springy and does sink its depth a little when you put your head on it.
Will the headrest blend well with my chair?
The Engineered Now headrest may not be using the same fabric used in the original Aeron chairs. Despite that, it’s hard to visually tell or feel a difference when installed on the chair.
As for the Atlas, the mesh is the same material used on the original Aeron Chairs, so it should provide a perfect match. It has a sleeker and simpler-looking design, which makes it aesthetically more pleasing. In this aspect, the Atlas headrest should be the clear winner.
Both types of mesh used are durable and can dissipate heat well. It is unlikely that the user will create a tear by placing their head on the mesh.
Here are some illustration photos:
Both may look like it’s in different colours, but that’s mainly due to lighting or editing discrepancies. You can see that they look almost the same in our earlier photos comparing them.
Which is more durable?
From statistics, Engineered Now headrest seems to have fewer technical complains. That’s after almost a decade of selling. Reports of them failing is rare or never heard of, so we think they are hard to beat. Some complain that the tension might slip, but that can be easily tightened back using simple tools. Overall, they feel slightly more solid in the gears and the pivoting points. The issue of the tension slipping may also happen on the Atlas, it’s hard to tell which will be worse, but we believe the Engineered One should fare a little better in overall durability.
As for workmanship, the Atlas fares better on the finishing. Atlas’s new mesh headrest hasn’t been around for long, but we believe they are also well made.
Both use Nylon frames. Nylon is a very hard material that doesn’t easily corrode and has some form of self-lubricating properties. The chassis of your Aeron chair is mainly made of Nylon.
Which is easier to install?
Both are relatively easy to install.
Installation for the Engineered Now is easier because there is only one screw to tighten.
For the Atlas, there are a total of 4 screws to be installed. We don’t think it’s a big matter since it should not take you an extra 5 minutes to do that.
What is the OEM Ergonomic Headrest?
It appears that the Engineered Now Headrest patent has probably expired. Imitation Engineered One headrests are flooding the market, most are coming from China, and we have bought at least 10 from different factories and tried them out. Some have a very toxic odour, some have a flimsy build, and some are ill-fitting.
The best seems to the from Taiwan, which is believed to be the OEM at some point. In fact, they have rectified some issue, only problem is they are much more expensive than the other replicas, and we think it’s worth the extras.
Other than some minor tweaks to improve the design a little. Can’t tell the quality difference between the OEM and the original Engineered One Headrest. You can see for yourself below. The biggest difference is the PRICE, and it’s becoming very popular.
They have a few adjustments and tweaks, which some deem critical or address some of the previously known concerns.
Some tweaks include cushion pads to reduce the chance of scratching and an adjustment rod design that allows better locking.
Below are the main differences based on the latest design. The OEM are the direct production line, so they may react swiftly and make amendments for various reasons. We can’t guarantee that the designs will always be the same. Any changes are supposed to be improvements or necessary.
All the comparison photos are from us. If you see them used on other websites or platforms, they are unauthorised, and we suggest staying away.
We notice a better finish on the frame—a closer match to the original chair. The mesh is almost identical and matches the Aeron chair perfectly.
Will the headrest void my warranty?
From the investigation video below, it seems that only if the headrest does structural damage to the chair or mechanism will it be considered voiding the warranty. This includes drilling into the frame to secure the headrest, which none of the headrests mentioned on our website does. This includes the Engineered Now and Atlas headrests attached to the chair by tightening a bolt mechanism to secure them.
The new Ergonomic Aeron Headrests even have cushion pads to reduce scratches. It is hard to find evidence that that headrest was ever attached.
We will grade them by comparing just the Engineered Now and Atlas Headrest.
The same score is given to the Ergonomic Aeron Headrest H3 (OEM).
Overall, these are the best headrests available for the Aeron chair. Each with its strength and weaknesses, and which is better depends on what you deem as more important. The Engineered Now headrest fare slightly better in adjustability and ergonomics. While the Atlas fare slightly better in design and material.
You can find more information on the product’s page below. We do sell and ship them to most countries for FREE.
Before you go and you own a Herman Miller chair, read the following.
You may want to check out the wheels also known as casters.
They are the easiest part to fail in the chair and we have found the BEST replacements that last much better. It’s of the same same, not the roller blade wheels that increases the height by an inch or more. An inch higher could cause your legs unable to reach the floor for support and strain your back and thighs.
Look at these photo of the wheels shedding.
Check out what’s the best you can get to replace here:
Made in Germany Premium Hard Casters